The Switch is host to so many of Nintendo’s staples at this point, with blockbusters like Mario and Zelda coming out within its first year. Add on Smash, Pokémon, Animal Crossing, Kirby, Splatoon’s sophomore effort, an expansive Fire Emblem, and all those Wii U ports and it’s a highly impressive selection anywhere you go. Some more niche entries have been given new leases on life as well (Two Xenoblades?!), but it’s the dawn of a new year.
New years mean new releases, and there’s still several Nintendo franchises that deserve to make their Switch (and in some cases HD) debut. We’re looking through what’s plausible, what’s probable, and what we just really, really want to put together a list during this calm before the announcement storm. Here are seven Nintendo series we haven’t heard from in a while, but have our fingers crossed for in 2021!
Right out the starting gate I’m listing one I know fans have been waiting for for far too long. F-Zero had a couple of Japanese only releases, but for most of the world the last time they got behind the wheel was in 2003’s F-Zero GX. A fantastic racing game in its own right and arguably the peak of the series (thanks Sega!), it’s been reduced to cameos and routine Smash appearances in the last few console generations.
I say enough is enough, as even though Mario Kart is the better performing racing series in terms of sales and wide popularity, there’s room for this hyper-speed intergalactic Grand Prix to exist too. GX’s own producer seems to think so, recently saying he’s open to working on the series again and would aim to make it a challenging counterpart to Mario Kart’s accessibility. Only time will tell if the Blue Falcon will race again on Switch…
Kid Icarus already laid dormant for decades until Pit flew again in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Give it a bit more time, and Kid Icarus Uprising became one of the best 3DS games you could get your hands on. That’s if your hands didn’t cramp up in the process, but thanks to Masahiro Sakurai’s direction the NES-era franchise got the kind of second chance we’re hoping for for these games. So just…do it again?
This one’s a little tricky, as Sakurai and Sora Ltd. are occupied developing Smash Ultimate’s DLC for the foreseeable future. Still, even if Uprising were ported and remastered on Switch I’d be more than happy. We can talk sequel later, and maybe one day we’ll see if Pit ever got around to learning how to read.
Here’s one I don’t think anybody’s expecting, but would suit the hardware well. A little game called Snipperclips showed the world the kinds of multiplayer possibilities inherent to the Joy-Con back at the console’s launch, but I’d wager we’re due for another co-op offering from Nintendo themselves – and they’ve got just the pair to do it.
A new Ice Climbers built around multiplayer would make for a fantastic eShop title, letting two players use Popo and Nana’s teamwork to the fullest in a new puzzle-platformer. At least that’s how I envision their return, but of all the games on this list I’d say they’re the most likely to stay on ice.
Sometimes in a series’ absence, other developers step up and beat Nintendo at their own game. I’d argue that’s what happened with Chucklefish’s Wargroove – a fantastic turn based strategy game with unique commander-based powers and resource management elements. That’s at the core of Advance Wars (or Nintendo Wars, if you prefer), which hasn’t gotten the kind of upward trajectory its cousin Fire Emblem has since its Game Boy Advance debut in the west.
Associated more with handhelds at this point, the Switch is the perfect place for Advance Wars to re-engage fans. With the potential for sharing custom maps and online PvP, it’d maintain that familiarity while broadening the series’ reach and potential. If not on Switch, Fire Emblem Heroes has shown that mobile grid based strategy can be plenty fun too…
What’ve you been up to lately, Camelot? You gave the world meter tennis but we haven’t heard much since. I’d say it’s much more likely they’re working on a similar treatment for Mario Golf (which I would play in a heartbeat) but I’d wager the announcement of a new Golden Sun would make more praise-worthy waves.
Not since Dark Dawn on the DS has this RPG series gotten a chance to shine, and considering the line the series walks in terms of being both traditional and unique, that’s a true shame. Imagine those Djinn-based summons in HD, or even an updated collection of the whole series in one place. There’s a lot of potential for those semi-forgotten Adepts, and it’s high time this Lost Age be found again.
Wario’s gotten too complacent with his game making business. Yes, the 3DS recently received a sort of ‘best of’ Warioware title, but what about his shoulder bashing roots? The Wario Land platformers are distinct enough from Mario’s own adventures (and really anything else in Nintendo’s portfolio) that a revival of those games is overdue. They previously handed over the reigns to Good Feel for Shake It!, and while another game in that vein that would be fine and good, I think there’s room for something more comprehensive for the character.
Imagine a Wario game that pulled from all corners of the character’s history. Give him techniques and design from Wario Land as the core make up, but work in details from the extra odd Wario World and the now loved characters of WarioWare. Go even further, take me back to Wario’s Woods. Drop a bucket on my head for that Mario & Wario goodness. Tying all these threads together, even loosely, with gorgeous 2D visuals would be worth its (hefty) weight in garlic and gold.
Rhythm Heaven is sorely missed on consoles. Yes, it too received a Megamix on 3DS, but not since Fever on the Wii have I been able to gather friends around and pass off the controller to enjoy the cute visuals and catchy music this series always delivers. While there hasn’t been much growth in terms of game design for the series, there doesn’t really have to be. It just needs to be its simple self.
Considering how much new music and how many new characters typically come with any Rhythm Heaven entry, that alone could carry this jam. It’s the kind of game you’d never want to fall off your home screen, picking up every now and then to chase Perfects or just hum along with a favorite song for a bit. Everything else on this list would need to grow or have a hook to it. Rhythm Heaven is made of hooks.
These just scratch the surface of what’s possible, so worry not Panel de Pon fans. Let us know what YOU want to see this year, even if it’s just a sign of life from Metroid Prime 4 in 2021.